Many regard The Wizard of Oz as a literary classic; the story of Dorothy and her adventures in Oz have proven to be an enjoyable read for children of all ages for decades. Dorothy’s adventures have also translated well to the visual medium, as the film by Judy Garland has received high praise. Fast forward to September 30 of this year, when publisher D3 and developer Xseed released a videogame translate of The Wizard of Oz story in the title The Wizard of Oz: Beyond the Yellow Brick Road. For the most part they have succeeded, and their take is vastly different from what you would expect in terms of writing and presentation. The gameplay is not very creative though, as the rough controls and limited sense of purpose dull what could have been a unique experience.
In terms of presentation, this journey to the land of Oz lives up to its subtitle of going beyond the Yellow Brick Road, mainly by providing characters and a premise that differs from what is offered in the book and movie. Here, Dorothy, after being whisked away to Oz, is asked by the Wizard to defeat four witches based of off different seasons in order to have her wish come true. It is an interesting take on the classic tale, and for the most part gives you all the motivation you need to progress. Along the way, you meet up with characters who should prove familiar to those who have become familiar with the literary work. You will see the Tin Man, the Cowardly Lion, and the Strawman, Dorothy’s dog Toto and others, along with enemies that were never in any Wizard of Oz manuscript.
Meeting these characters encompass a part of Dorothy’s quest to find the four witches and take them out. Sadly, it is a quest that is very bare bones. Most of your adventure will consist of wandering through environments, taking out foes, solving the occasional puzzle, obtaining treasure, gaining experience from said victories, and obtaining the eggs from the evil witches that are necessary for progression. The fact that you rarely meet other individuals along the way makes this journey feel boring, and the fact that the story, while well written, rarely gives you any sense of urgency, contributes to this monotony.